Presentations of your research project begin in class on Monday, April 13.
The best research presentations will: demonstrate considerable research into your topic’s history; synthesize a variety of materials to craft a thoughtful historical argument; demonstrate your skills analyzing primary and secondary sources; engage your arguments with larger scholarly debates; and employ skillful written, visual, and digital communication to persuasively convey your analysis.
Another of the goals of this assignment is to give you practice speaking in front of an audience. No matter what the future holds for you, at some point you will have to make a presentation in front of a group. It may be for an academic conference, a sales pitch, a political rally, or a PTA meeting, but effective oral communication is an essential life skill. Practice makes perfect (or at least makes the experience less anxiety-producing for you and less painful for your audience).
This assignment is also intended to help you think about the best way to present your ideas. Effective oral communication requires a different approach than written communication. Successful Pecha Kucha presentations (for our modified version, this will be 15 PowerPoint slides automatically advancing after 20 seconds each) depend on careful use of visual evidence to support your argument. Pecha Kucha Planning Template
Things to keep in mind:
- Our course website includes a video introduction to Pecha Kucha and guides to slide design. Take advantage of these resources!
- For your presentation, you task is to familiarize your colleagues with the argument, approach, and evidence presented in your research. Be clear and concise.
- You are the classroom’s expert on this topic. However, you only have a short time for your presentation (five minutes, plus time at the end for questions). Think carefully. What are the most important things to communicate to your classmates within the context of this course? How does your research engage the themes we have been discussing? How can you create a presentation that is creative and engaging?
- Start with an overview of your presentation. It is easier for an audience to follow your fascinating research if they have some indication of what you will be arguing.
- Use specific examples to support your argument. You want to persuade your audience.
- What is the significance of your research? What is your “take-home message” – the central thing you want your audience to remember?
- The ideal image size for projection is 1024 × 768.
- Remember the (mandatory) 1/1/5 Rule: each slide must have one image, you can use each image only once, and no more than five words per slide.
- NO TACKY CLIP ART OR STOCK IMAGES. They are neither professional nor amusing.
- Practice your presentation in front of a mirror, or better yet, in front of your friends. Make sure that your images and interpretation are in sync. This is also a good opportunity to practice answering questions from the audience. The CoRE in Andrews Library contains presentation practice spaces.
- Speak slowly and clearly. Maintain eye contact with your audience. You may use notes, but try not to just read from your paper.
- Consult the grading rubric for presentations. How do you think your Pecha Kucha rates?
- Make sure you take careful notes on your colleagues’ presentations. Your feedback will be a crucial part of their revision process.
When evaluating your research presentation, I will look for evidence that you have:
- incorporated an introduction that clearly outlines your topic, approach, and thesis
- concisely described your research question and explained its significance
- demonstrated significant research about your question
- demonstrated familiarity with the scholarly literature about the topic: What different bodies of literature are relevant to what you are doing? Has much been written on your precise topic? Cite specific examples to show how other scholars interpret your research question. What does your unique approach contribute?
- presented a clear argument
- supported your arguments with specific examples from your annotated bibliography
- ended with a thought-provoking conclusion goes beyond summary to explain the implications of your study
- used visual evidence that support your arguments
- organized your presentation logically and compellingly
- given credit for any direct quotations or paraphrasing of someone else’s arguments
- paid attention to the assignment guidelines (length, format, specifications)
- led a polished Q&A, including thoughtful response to class questions with explanations and elaboration
- This assignment is worth 10% of your course grade.
What is Pecha Kucha?